Quite often entrepreneurs believe that with one trademark registration their trademark can be protected worldwide. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

As a matter of fact, a trademark registration offers protection within the territory that you indicated at the time of filing.  A Benelux registration will protect your trademark in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg, but e.g. not in the neighbouring countries.

Being an entrepreneur, it is best that you start with a trademark  registration in your home country. For Belgian entrepreneurs, this will be a Benelux registration as, since 1971, there is a uniform trademark law for the three member states. This is laid down in the BCIP (Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property).

If you are active beyond our national borders, fortunately there are various possibilities to extend your trademark rights to the countries of your interest.

Very popular is the European Union trademark  that offers a uniform protection in all EU member states. In the event that in future new member states join the European Union, your European Union trademark will automatically be protected there as well.

When your ambition reaches out to countries outside of  the European Union, whether or not additionally, you can contemplate to file an international trademark application. That term gives the impression that your trademark is protected “internationally”, but this is not the case. It is just a name that refers to a specific system under which you file a trademark application for one or more countries. You can just as well file an “international trademark application “ for one country only or for more countries that joined the system (currently 124 countries have joined).

The system in itself is very flexible, cost-effective and it allows to add countries at a later stage very easily.

It is of course always possible as well to file a “national trademark application”. This means that you just pick a country where the registration procedure is initiated, in conformity with the trademark law of that particular country.

Wherever you wish to register your trademark, it is always advisable to examine in advance whether there are any earlier conflicting trademark registrations in that territory. This way, you avoid unpleasant surprises and you can start the commercialization of your trademark with confidence.

Do you want to know which options are the most interesting for you? Please feel free to contact  us and we will be happy to explain.